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Key considerations for modifying parenting time

Children benefit from having healthy relationships with their parents. Even in cases where parents cannot be together, it is in the best interest of the child to maintain healthy visitation with both parents.

In cases where a parent desires to spend more time with the child, it may be possible to seek a modification to the set parenting time agreement. There are a few key considerations to keep in mind when pursuing this option.

Threshold requirement

In order for the courts to consider a modification in a child custody order, the request must meet the threshold requirement as set forth in Michigan's Child Custody Act. Simply stated, the requesting party must show a significant shift in circumstances that would warrant an alteration to the current arrangement. This may include a few different things:

  • Parental absence
  • Negative parental habits (i.e. excessive use of alcohol or drugs)
  • Child abuse

It is up to the petitioning parent to prove the allegations. On the other hand, the other parent also has the right to defend himself or herself, so in either case, having proper evidence is crucial.

Established custodial environment

When parents create an initial custody agreement, this forms an established custodial environment. From that point on, the courts will consider the ECE when making any modification determinations. Particularly in cases where a parent seeks more parenting time, it is important to keep the ECE in mind, especially if the increase in parenting time will cause a significant shift in the ECE. If that is the case, the petitioning parent may have to show that his or her environment is fit to serve as the child's ECE.

At the end of the day, the greatest deciding factor is what is in the best interest of the child. To that end, if there is any way for parents to work out any modifications between themselves, that can save time, energy and money, as well as prevent any tension between the two parties to maintain a peaceful, loving environment for the child. In the end, that is the most important aspect.

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Bebout, Potere, Cox & Bennion, P.C.
821 North Main Street
Rochester, MI 48307

Phone: 248-805-1959
Fax: 248-651-8923
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